What NOT to do After a Car Accident
Emotions can run high in the wake of a car accident, so it’s easy to make decisions that aren’t to your advantage and can complicate matters in the long run. The steps you take are important for your personal safety, as well as legal and insurance reasons.
Below is a list of things you should not do if you’re involved in a car accident:
Leave the Scene
It’s against the law in Ontario to flee the scene of an accident, even if it seems minor. Ensure that everyone’s safe and stay put. You can move a vehicle only if it poses a danger, but leaving the scene without due procedure may lead to legal ramifications.
Even if you think you’re to blame, be careful not to apologize or admit fault right after an accident. Evidence and legal scrutiny must first take place to determine fault; and admissions can be misconstrued and have an adverse impact on a potential claim.
Fail to notify authorities
It’s important to report the accident to the police even if it’s minor, since police reports document insurance claims and legal proceedings.
Neglect medical attention
Refusing to get a medical assessment at the scene can be a huge error. Some injuries might not be immediately apparent but could have severe consequences for you in the future.
Fail to exchange information
Gather names, addresses, phone numbers, insurance details, and vehicle information—it’s vital for insurance claims and investigations.
Forget to document the scene
Take photos of the vehicles involved, damages incurred, and any visible injuries. Gather information from witnesses since it can be important for insurance claims.
Delay informing your insurer
Let your insurance company know right away, since failing to report the accident promptly could jeopardize the claim process.
Ignore legal deadlines
Ontario has specific time limits for reporting accidents and filing insurance claims so if you ignore these deadlines, you could significantly impact your claim’s outcome.
Accept a settlement without legal advice
If you accept a settlement or sign documents without legal counsel, your claim may be undervalued. Consulting a lawyer can help you understand your rights and what fair consultation you are entitled to.
Post information about the accident on social media
Don’t discuss the accident’s details online, since any statement you make can be used against you in legal proceedings, which can impact your case.
Make repairs before the assessment
It can complicate the claims process to make vehicle repairs before the insurance adjusters can make an evaluation. Repairs may need to be assessed first to determine the full extent of damages.
Protecting Your Rights
Navigating the aftermath of a car accident can be daunting, but keeping these guidelines top of mind can significantly protect your rights and help support both insurance claims and legal proceedings.
Please contact us to arrange a free consultation if you’ve been involved in a car accident to find out what your rights are and the next steps you should take.